"Riders of the Purple Sage" was published in 1912. It was written by Zane Grey. The book is of the Western Genre that Zane Grey popularized. The story follows Lassiter, a rider in black. He comes to the rescue of Jane Withersteen. Jane Withersteen is being harassed by the Elders of her church to become one of Elder Tull's wives. Since she is young, pretty and wealthy, they want her to … [Read more...]
Born Pearl Zane Grey in 1872, he was the fourth of five children. His parents were Alice and Lewis M. Gray, a dentist. Alice's ancestor was an English Quaker who immigrated to the American colonies in 1673. Zane's maternal great-grandfather founded Zanesville, Ohio after the Revolutionary War.
After Zane's birth, the family changed the spelling of Gray to Grey. Zane left off his first name and became Zane Grey.
Zane had a great love of fishing and writing. Although his father forbids him to spend time with Muddy Miser, an old man who taught him about living an unconventional life and took him fishing. Zane was very interested in western novels and wrote his first novel, Jim of the Cave when he was fifteen. His father tore it up and then punished him. He did not want Zane to waste time writing.
After some financial loses, Zane's father moved the family to Columbus, Ohio. As his father was trying to get his dental practice off the ground, Zane made house calls in the area. He used the skill his father taught him and pulled teeth. He practiced his dentistry until the state board stopped him. Then he went to work as a part-time usher in a movie theater while he played baseball. He had hopes of becoming a major league baseball player. Soon he started to get offers from colleges. He chose the University of Pennsylvania. He attended the college on a baseball scholarship and studied dentistry.
Zane was an excellent pitcher, but when the pitcher's mound was moved out another ten feet because of Cy Young's pitching, he was sent to the outfield. Although he loved baseball and was an all-around athlete, he also wrote poetry. During his summer break, he was hit with a paternity suit that was settled quietly by his father who paid the girl off with one hundred and thirty-three dollars.
During college, Zane played with a few minor league teams, but after college, he became a dentist, Dr. Zane Grey in 1896. In 1905 he married Lina Roth, better known as Dolly. She was from a well-established family of doctors and was studying to become a teacher. Zane suffered from a bout of depression. He experienced mood swings and bouts of anger. While they were dating, Zane saw other women and told Dolly that he would continue to be unfaithful.
Dolly managed his career and raised their three children. He spent most of their marriage away. He wrote, fished and spent time with his mistresses. He valued her greatly. She was his editor and handled all his contract negotiations. They split his earnings down the middle fifty – fifty. She used her half for the family expenses. The family settled in California in 1920.
Most of Zane's books were westerns, but he also wrote a bit on his favorite pastime; fishing. He became one of the first millionaire authors. His books led to the shaping of the myths of the wild west. He also wrote baseball books and children's books. Many of his books became best sellers. Zane Grey was a household name. His writings have been adapted into 112 movies, two television shows, and a series. He wrote over ninety books.
Zane Grey died in 1939 of heart failure at his home in Altadena, California. He was sixty-seven years old. He is buried in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania.